Jasper Ralph wins spelling bee

‘Fatigue’ and ‘apathy’ propel West Tisbury fifth-grader to victory.


Jasper Ralph, a fifth-grader from the West Tisbury School, bested five other competitors to win the 26th annual Martha’s Vineyard Schools Spelling Bee Friday morning. The victory affords Ralph the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 27.

Sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School and The Martha’s Vineyard Times publishers Barbara and Peter Oberfest, the event was judged by superintendent of schools Matt D’Andrea and Times calendar editor Connie Berry. Spelling Bee coordinator Jean Holenko introduced the event and Times proofreader Barbara Davis was the official “pronouncer.”

At a little past 10 o’clock in the morning, seventh-grader Grayson Kirk-Linn, after some impressive spelling, had been eliminated with a misspelling of “carnivore” and the bee was down to two students — Jasper and fifth-grader Louisiana “LuLu” White of the Tisbury School. It was the word “knavery” that knocked LuLu from the competition. Jasper then correctly spelled “apathy” and “fatigue” to win the bee.

While Jasper defeated the other students, none of them actually lost as they received vigorous applause and gifts for participating.

The other participating students were fifth-grader Katherine Chvatal of the Chilmark School, sixth-grader Nick Carpenter of the Edgartown School, and seventh-grader Madeleine Bengsston of the Oak Bluffs School.